Published March 20, 2012
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The movie “21 Jump Street” is based upon the ’80s TV series of the same name that shot Johnny Depp to instant fame. The opening scene, set in 2005, sees Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) in their real-life high school scenarios: Schmidt a “not-so-slim-shady” nerd and Jenko the classic airhead jock. The two are polar opposites. Jump forward to present day and they are now undercover officers in the Jump Street program because they’re viewed as unprofessional due to botching up their first bust by failing to read the perp his rights.
While undercover, the duo finds itself caught up too much with the everyday high school activities, living out their past dreams as adolescent teens and almost completely messing up their entire assignment.
Eric Molson (Dave Franco), Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and Mr. Walters (Rob Riggles) also add a lot to the screen. Molson is an eco-friendly, tree-hugging pretty boy that spends his time writing nature songs and selling drugs to seemingly everyone at high school. Capt. Dickson is a hard ass who can’t seem to talk at a normal voice level, and Walters is the classic teacher who never left high school behind, loathed by the entire school. All three of these characters add their own spice to Tatum and Hill’s already spectacularly concocted performances.
With their undercover roles the opposite of how high school really was seven years ago, Jenko finds himself a nerd and is bewildered by (and also totally jealous of) Schmidt’s instant popularity. His stupidity and Schmidt’s un-athleticism make for a wonderful combination, which are shown throughout the movie.
With references to multiple episodes from the show, the comedy lives up to the potential of the series for those with knowledge of the original. However, one doesn’t need to know anything prior to the movie; it’s hilarious either way. Sex jokes, chase scenes and awkward Jonah Hill moments fill the screen with nonstop laughs for the crowd. Not gonna lie, seeing Tatum run in skinny jeans and Hill run in Peter Pan tights is quite a riot.
Definitely mind-blowing, this movie takes hilarity to the next level. Never has a movie combined so much vulgarity and profanity to pull off such a comedic success. It’s not often that such dirty jokes don’t detract from the awesomeness of the film, and in fact, these profane and sexual jokes actually add to it. Laughs galore in every scene, “21 Jump Street” will leave the viewer with sore abs in the end.